In Cold Blood (1967)

Rated R. Our ratings: V-5 ; L-2 ; S/N-1 . Running time: 2 hours 14 min.

He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the hapless,
Psalm 10:8

In Cold Blood

Director Richard Brooks adapted Truman capote’s book in 1967. John Forsyth played KFBI agent Alvin Dewey, and Robert Blake, ironically, played killer Perry Smith. I say ironically, because Blake himself was to stand trial years later for the murder of his wife. Though acquitted in a criminal court, he was held responsible for her death in a civil trial. This was over 20 years after his starring with Scott Wilson, who played fellow murderer Dick Hickock in the film. The film does a credible job of showing the patient police work that finally led to the apprehension of the two murderers. To this we must add the incredible good fortune and the stupidity of the two, who thought they could get away with murder by leaving no witnesses. Left alone, neither criminal would have murdered someone, but when brought together, each brought that which was missing in the other, leading them to their cold-blooded slaughter of all four members of the Clutter family—and they didn’t net enough to pay for their gasoline! The $10,000 which they thought the Clutters kept on hand did not exist. Capote is depicted but not named in the film, his presence seen at the trial and at the execution of the two killers. Director Brooks was big on “authenticity,” casting six of the actual jurors as members of the film jury; shooting the purchase of the rope used to tie up the Clutters at the actual store where it was sold; and using the real-life hangman as the movie hangman. Little did we know in 1967 that, as gripping as this film was, the telling of Capote’s pursuit of the two men’s story would prove as interesting as the story of the crime itself.